Re­tal­ia­tory risk

Ar­rest of Huawei CFO fu­elling con­cern for Cana­dian busi­ness peo­ple in China

The Western Star - - CANADA -

Canada’s ar­rest of Huawei Tech­nolo­gies’ chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer in Van­cou­ver is fu­elling con­cern that Cana­dian busi­ness peo­ple in China are at risk of be­ing ar­rested in re­tal­i­a­tion.

That view is be­ing ad­vanced by in­ter­na­tional se­cu­rity an­a­lysts and for­mer diplo­mats, fol­low­ing the ar­rest on Satur­day of Meng Wanzhou.

Canada’s Jus­tice De­part­ment says the United States is seek­ing Meng’s ex­tra­di­tion, but is not pro­vid­ing fur­ther de­tails about the case be­cause of a cour­tordered pub­li­ca­tion ban on her pend­ing bail hear­ing.

Chi­nese of­fi­cials are loudly call­ing for Meng’s re­lease and want Canada to re­veal the rea­son for her ar­rest.

“The Chi­nese are likely to play tit for tat on this one and we should be ready for it,” said Fen Hamp­son, the di­rec­tor of the global se­cu­rity pro­gram at the Cen­tre for Gover­nance In­no­va­tion in south­ern On­tario.

David Mul­roney, a for­mer Cana­dian am­bas­sador to China, says that while he doesn’t want to over­state the pos­si­bil­ity of a Cana­dian be­ing jailed, China will be look­ing for ways to strike back.

“China will be fu­ri­ous and look for means of pun­ish­ing us, in part as an ex­am­ple for oth­ers. That could in­clude tit for tat moves against Cana­di­ans,” he said.

Chi­nese For­eign min­istry spokesman Geng Shuang told re­porters Thurs­day that the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment also wants Cana­dian of­fi­cials to re­veal the rea­son­ing.

He also said Meng’s le­gal rights must be en­sured, adding that nei­ther Cana­dian nor Amer­i­can of­fi­cials had so far re­sponded to China’s con­cerns.

The com­ments come af­ter China’s em­bassy in Ot­tawa is­sued a state­ment Wed­nes­day call­ing Meng’s ar­rest a se­ri­ous vi­o­la­tion of hu­man rights.

“(Canada) ar­rested a Chi­nese ci­ti­zen (who did not vi­o­late) any Cana­dian or Amer­i­can law,” the state­ment said.

“We will closely fol­low the de­vel­op­ment of the is­sue and take all mea­sures to res­o­lutely pro­tect the le­git­i­mate rights and in­ter­ests of Chi­nese cit­i­zens.”

Cana­dian Jus­tice De­part­ment spokesman Ian McLeod said the U.S. is seek­ing Meng’s ex­tra­di­tion, but couldn’t pro­vide fur­ther de­tails about the case be­cause of the pub­li­ca­tion ban in ef­fect at Meng’s re­quest.

Meng was chang­ing flights in Canada when she was de­tained “on be­half of the United States of Amer­ica” to face “un­spec­i­fied charges” in New York, Huawei said in a state­ment.

“The com­pany has been pro­vided very lit­tle in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the charges and is not aware of any wrong­do­ing by Ms. Meng,” the state­ment said.

“The com­pany be­lieves the Cana­dian and U.S. le­gal sys­tems will ul­ti­mately reach a just con­clu­sion.”

THE CANA­DIAN PRESS/AP-NG HAN GUAN

A pro­file of Huawei’s chief fi­nan­cial of­fi­cer Meng Wanzhou is dis­played on a Huawei com­puter at a Huawei store in Bei­jing, China, Thurs­day. Cana­dian au­thor­i­ties said Wed­nes­day that they have ar­rested Meng for pos­si­ble ex­tra­di­tion to the United States.

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